A Latvian-style Sourdough Rye Bread
Greetings from Aotearoa New Zealand. I've been making bread for about six months now. Back in March my cousin gave me a sourdough starter and a recipe for a white wheat sourdough loaf with a bit of rye, and that got me hooked. My mother is from Latvia, and I remember the marvellous "black bread" that the old ladies at the Latvian Society used to make when I was growing up in the 1970s. Wanting to recreate the taste I remembered, I searched for Latvian recipes, and that led me to this site and then to Stanley Ginsberg's blog and book "The Rye Baker." Being a purist, I wanted something that used only the sourdough as the leavening, without commercial yeast. After trying two or three of his recipes, I started experimenting with my own variations, and came up with this formula. To my mind at least, it's a complex and nuanced balance of flavours - a background of malt, a definite but not overwhelming overlay of carraway (that was always a feature of the breads I remember from my childhood), an unmistakable tang of sour, and the sweetness that makes me want to keep going back for more.
I'd intended this to be the perfect loaf to photograph for this forum, but by mistake I used ordinary greaseproof paper to line the tin instead of baking paper, and it stuck irremovably to the crust - you can see it in the photo. But I decided to post it anyway. The taste is fine - you just have to trim off the crusts.